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Storen begins rehab Thursday

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Storen begins rehab Thursday

Drew Storen is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on Thursday, putting the Nationals reliever on track to come off the disabled list for the club's first game after next week's All-Star break.

Storen (out since spring training with a bone spur in his elbow) will make four rehab appearances, manager Davey Johnson said, pitching every other day. That would make his final outing July 11 and leave him available to appear out of the Nationals' bullpen July 13 in Miami.

"That's the plan," Johnson said. "I think that would be enough."

The Nationals also expect to have Henry Rodriguez back in a matter of days. The right-hander, on the DL with a finger strain, has made seven rehab appearances for Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse and has yet to allow a hit (though he has walked five batters).

The return of both Storen and Rodriguez will force the Nationals to clear two spots in their bullpen, and one of those spots is likely the one currently held by Chien-Ming Wang. The veteran right-hander has not adapted well to a long relief role, and now the club believes he may not be 100 percent healthy.

Wang's personal trainer, who has been traveling with the club for the last week, believes he's been unable to raise his arm to a proper angle to throw his sinker because of a problem with his hip.

"She thinks that he's some kind of out of whack, because he's not able to get in the position he needs to be where he's on top," Johnson said. "So she's been putting him through exercises and stuff to try to get his mechanics better. But that's a work in progress."

It's possible the Nationals would determine Wang needs to be placed back on the DL.

Meanwhile, bench players Chad Tracy (groin) and Xavier Nady (wrist) might also begin rehab assignments Thursday at Potomac.

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC